By George Overhill

25th Mar, 2023 | 6:40pm

Weston McKennie to Leeds United 'closest' to permanent deal as Juventus brace for return of Liverpool flop Arthur Melo

Weston McKennie making a permanent move to Leeds United is the “closest to redemption” of Juventus’ three Premier League loanees, la Gazzetta dello Sport reports.

The Old Lady sent the American to Elland Road on a loan-to-buy deal in the January transfer window, following midfield teammates Denis Zakaria to Chelsea and Arthur Melo to Liverpool.

The latter of the trio is seen as the most “burning” issue for the Serie A side as his €37.5million [£33million] option to remain at Anfield is “truly unlikely” to be triggered.

In comparison to the Brazilian’s inevitable return to Turin the Whites midfielder is seen as far more likely to stay in West Yorkshire, according to Gazzetta.

That is despite a report from 90min on 22 March that Leeds United are not looking to keep McKennie past the end of the seasons despite having a €33million option on him [£29million].


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Juventus are in turmoil and have been attempting to shed costly assets as a result, but it doesn’t look like they have done especially well with it.

Former Barcelona man Arthur’s move to Merseyside has been an absolute disaster, with less than 90 minutes of first-team action all season thanks to surgery, with his only two full games coming for the under-21s, and not a single minute in the Premier League.

Zakaria’s presence at Stamford Bridge has been somewhat more successful when he has been selected, but that has still been infrequent with just 12 appearances across all competitions during the campaign.

With N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic injured earlier this season it looked like Zakaria had a chance to establish himself to stay long-term, but Graham Potter has been bafflingly reluctant to use the Swiss international, and with £106.8million since splashed out on Enzo Fernandez it looks like the door has probably closed.

In comparison to those two deals the McKennie move is a roaring success so far, with appearances in every Premier League game since his arrival.

However, the jury is still out as to whether he has done enough in those games to warrant such an outlay at the end of the year, especially when he arrived under Jesse Marsch and the American was sacked one game later.

Javi Gracia may have other ideas if he succeeds in keeping the club up, and it is possible that McKennie was just Victor Orta’s final throw of the dice to try to rescue Marsch.

In other Leeds United news, the discontent in Italy has spread to another club whose fans are set for a “horrible awakening” as one key man may be headed to Elland Road in the summer.

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